Get a FREE Books of the Moment  sampler!
Check Out These
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
See the List
Best Seller
Merchant, Soldier, Sage by David Priestland

Merchant, Soldier, Sage

Merchant, Soldier, Sage by David Priestland
Feb 25, 2014 | 352 Pages
See All Formats (1) +
  • Paperback $17.00

    Feb 25, 2014 | 352 Pages

  • Ebook $12.99

    Mar 21, 2013 | 352 Pages

Product Details


“The story of man, Oxford academic David Priestland writes in his new big-idea history entitled, can be told through the will to power of three castes of civilization… The book covers almost the entirety of human history, but really serves as an extremely long-tailed investigation into the financial crisis of 2008 and how civilization’s failure to properly rein in the merchant in its wake might negatively affect the future… Priestland keeps things moving at a lively and readable pace.”
The Daily Beast

 ”Priestland is consistently engaging, whether in his discussion of the marshaling of Confucius’s teachings for political ends, or in pegging former President George W. Bush as a warrior… ambitious, well organized, and insightful, and will appeal to scholarly and popular audiences.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Priestland marches us through history, showing us how his model applies to and illuminates everything from the Reformation to Robinson Crusoe, Adam to Adam Smith, Andrew Carnegie to Ayn Rand, Hitler to Putin, and Richard Wagner to Sinclair Lewis… He notes—no real surprise—that the world tends to get in trouble when it permits one caste to dominate… Useful, often-clarifying trifocals through which to view the world.
“Stimulating… In illustrating these larger processes of caste conflict and caste collaboration, [Priestland] offers crisp portraits of entrepreneurs, economists and warriors… Priestland has a wonderfully arch description of Davos, the Swiss mountain village where the world’s leading businessmen and pro-market politicians meet every January… [with] sparkling prose and often arresting comparisons”
Ramachandra Guha, Financial Times
“[A] concise but extremely ambitious book… a schema well worth pondering and reflecting on. And among the many contributions to the dissection of our current predicament, this is surely one of the most thought-provoking.”
—Sir Richard J. Evans, Guardian (UK)
“Lively, opinionated… The aim of this book is to use the lessons of history to understand the current financial crisis… Priestland has some interesting things to say about why power relationships shift and what happens when they do…”
“We have here a gripping, argument-led history, efforlessly moving between New York, Tokyo and Berlin, from the Reformation to the 2008 economic crisis … dazzling … here, at last, is a work that places the current crisis in a longer history of seismic shifts in the balance of social power”
—BBC History Magazine


“Mesmerizing… deftly combining academic rigour, personal histories and an engaging narrative.”—Tristram Hunt

“Priestland writes with elegance and style… he introduces art, poetry, film and literature to illustrate his themes, which makes this a riveting cultural as well as political history.”—Victor Sebestyen, Sunday Times

“The best and the most accessible one-volume history of Communism now available… A far-reaching, vividly written account.” —Foreign Affairs

“Entertaining… astute… a fine new history of Communism.” —John Gray, New Statesman

“In place of demonologies and apologies, a real history of modern communism from the beginning to the present.  It is an extraordinary story told with sympathy and with an incisive use of significant detail.” —Gareth Stedman Jones

Looking for More Great Reads?
Download our Spring Fiction Sampler Now
Back to Top